Waccamaw Siouan

The Waccamaw Sioux are one of eight by the state of North Carolina accepted in the United States of America Indigenous peoples Native American. The tribe lives mainly in the southeast of the state in the counties of Bladen and Columbus, in the municipalities of St. James, Buckhead and Council. The ancestral area of the Waccamaw Sioux is on the edge of the Green Swamp about 60 miles from Wilmington, 11 miles from Lake Waccamaw and 6 kilometers north of Bolton.

  • 4.1 The Lake Waccamaw legend
  • 4.2 16th century
  • 4.3 17th century
  • 4.4 18th century
  • 4.5 19th century 4.5.1 The importance of education


According to the U.S. Census in 2000 includes the entire population of the Indians by the people of the Waccamaw Sioux in Columbus and Bladen County 2,343 ( 1,697, respectively 646) persons, 2.7 % of the total Indian population of North Carolina. It counted 1,245 registered tribal members.

Between 1980 and 2000, to be distributed to the two county population increased by 6.7 % over the same period, the total population increased in the state for comparison to 37%. The growth in the two counties was mainly caused by the Amerindian 61%, and Hispanic population with 295 %. The African American population also saw a 7 % increase, while the white population declined by 0.6%.

Government and administration

The strain is determined by the Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Council, Inc., consisting of six members elected by the members of the tribe members who exercise their office for a period of three years. The position of the Chiefs was traditionally inherited, but has been also converted to a selectable office. A council of elders takes part in conducting the monthly meetings and inform the tribal members on matters which are of importance for the entire tribe. The opinions and suggestions of members to be submitted and have a part in the decision-making process.

The tribe employs a manager who takes care of the daily affairs of the tribe and manages the annual budget of approximately one million dollars. It monitors the support programs and created a monthly report to this assistance to local, state, and private donors, the Tribal Council and the tribe itself represent.


The Waccamaw Sioux were recognized by the State of North Carolina in 1971 and 1977 recognized as a non-profit organization. In the process to obtain recognition by the United States, they are supported by the Lumbee Inc. Legal Services, in the administrative process.


The first European settlers in the Carolinas were amazed at the diversity of Native American languages ​​in today's South. In today's North Carolina three language families were common in the region, for example, spoke the Hatteras, Roanoke, Chowanoke, Moratok, Pamlico, Secotan, Machapunga and Weapemeoc the coastal plain different, but related Algonquian languages. The Cherokee, Tuscarora, Coree and Meherrin, the areas of the coastal plain inhabited up to the Appalachian Mountains, spoke Iroquoian languages ​​while the Catawba, Cheraw, Cape Fear Indians, Eno, Keyauwee, Occaneechee, Tutelo, Saponi, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Wateree, Waxhaw, and the Waccamaw from the Cape Fear River and Piedmont region were among the siouxsprachigen peoples.

The historical Siouxsprache the Waccamaw Sioux Indians of North Carolina has been lost by the devastating losses within the tribal population in the 18th and 19th centuries.


The Lake Waccamaw legend

Since the earliest recorded exploration of the region in 1735 by William Bartram ( who was supported by the Waccamaws ), many legends were told about the origin of the stories about the origin of Lake Waccamaw. Many are proven fabulously embellished stories of the first white settlers, while the Waccamaw Sioux tell that thousands of years ago a giant meteor appeared in the southwest in the night sky. He fell, bright as an infinite number of suns, to the ground, and when he finally struck, he burned deep into the earth. The water of the swamps and rivers immediate flowed into the crater and cooled him, while the bright blue - green lake was created. Some believe that this story was invented in the mid 20th century by James E. Alexander.

16th century

Some historians discuss whether led by Francisco Girebillo Spanish expedition led by a Waccamaw Village in 1521. Girebillo it reached by following the coast of the Carolinas from the Waccamaw River and Pee Dee River. The Waccamaw be described as semi-nomadic inhabitants of the river valleys, Giro Bello also wrote that the Sioux uferbewohnenden of hunting and gathering lived, accompanied by a rudimentary agriculture. In addition, he described the rites of the Waccamaw as unique to this people, but they did not describe accurately.

17th Century

A little less than 150 years later, the Englishman William Hilton met the Waccamaw Sioux and 1670 they were mentioned by the German researcher and physician John Lederer in his Discoveries (English Discoveries). At the beginning of the 17th century Woccon were expelled ( the Waccamaw ) with other tribes of the Pee Dee River area by troops of the Spanish and Cusabo north. The mixed group of tribes who at the confluence of the Waccamaw and Pee Dee River, 1705 splintered up and formed a group Woccon who moved further north to the lower Neuse River and Contentnea Creek.

18th century

The first mention of Woccon / Waccamaw by the English settlers was recorded in 1712. At this time, the colony of South Carolina tried to persuade the Waccamaw to join together with the Cape Fear Indians the son of former British Governor James Moore, to join in the train against the Tuscarora in the Tuscarora War. Some of the earliest English travelers who penetrated into the interior of the Carolinas, John Lederer in 1670 and John Lawson about 30 years later, described the Waccamaw in their travelogues than the eastern Sioux peoples. However, none of them visited the wetlands, in which some of the Waccamaw had retreated in search of protection from the invading settlers. In fact, heard of the Sioux, who was described by John Lawson as " Woccon " and he filed the area a couple of kilometers south of the Tuscarora in his report New Voyage to Carolina from 1700, the authorities of the British colony at this time already to exist. The Woccon that moved in a group to the south were listed as Waccamaw in the documents of the colony from there. The spelling in the different periods of the colonial government varied or changed and could only be adjusted approximately to the spoken language of the respective strains. For example, between the Woccon from historical accounts about the time when the new Waccamaw occurred.

The Waccamaw remained until 1718 in the region on the Waccamaw and Pee Dee River, then they were forced to move into the Weenee or the Black River area. In 1720, joined the fleeing families of Tuscarora, Cheraw, Keyauwee and Hatteras, who moved to the banks of Drowning Creek, now known as Lumbee, or Lumber River. Some Waccamaw families remained until 1733 there until they retreated again, this time. At the Lake Waccamaw and the Green Swamp

In the second decade of the 18th century lived many Waccamaw, also known as " Waccommassus " means, about 150 kilometers northeast of Charleston in South Carolina. 1749 a war broke out between the Waccamaw and the colonists of South Carolina from, 29 years later, in May 1778 colony made ​​promises to protect the Indians, the promise was not kept, and the Indians retreated to the Waccamaw South Carolina war back into the wetland at Green Swamp, near the Lake Waccamaw. There they settled six kilometers north of the present Bolton, in an area that is known as the Old Indian Trail.

19th century

State distribution of land and other colonial records substantiate the claims of the Waccamaw Sioux on the region around the Green Swamp. After three centuries of experience in dealing with European settlers, the Waccamaw Sioux were very heavily customized and made ​​a living from agriculture in the European style, for which they also claimed Farmland for individual farms.

Like other Indian tribes in North Carolina, the Waccamaw Sioux were excluded in 1835 by universal suffrage, when the state adopted an amendment to its original constitution of 1776. Classified as Free Colored lost the Waccamaw Sioux all political and civil rights, and then could not choose, bear arms or serve in the military. The hostility in the population against the Waccamaw Sioux and other tribes rose in the wake of the ratification of the discriminatory constitutional amendment.

The importance of education

During the 19th century, the children of the tribe were denied access to public education. Even during the Reconstruction is the Waccamaw Sioux parents refused to send their children to school, because the assignment to the schools due to the members of the ethnic group was made. In a society that knew only two " races," white children went to schools that were only allowed whites and all others had to be admitted to schools for blacks. Both the tribes of the Lumbee and the Coharie could set up their own schools and later even establish its own school system. The Waccamaw tried in 1885 also, but the school Doe Head School in the Indian community Buckhead was open only sporadically. It was finally closed when the school board in 1921 sent an African-American teacher at the school and the Waccamaw Sioux did not accept him as a teacher.

20th century

The first, supported by the County School for Indians, who was also the Waccamaw Sioux available was the " Wide Awake School ". The school was built in the Buckhead community in Bladen County and the students were taught by Welton Lowry, a Lumbee. Waccamaw Sioux, who wanted to visit a high school were the Coharie East Carolina High School in Clinton, the High School of the Lumbee in Fairmont, Robeson County visit (Fairmont High School ) or the Catawba Indian School in South Carolina.

Relationship to other tribes of North Carolina

Like most other Indian tribes in North Carolina also have the Waccamaw Sioux a long tradition of merging with other peoples. The kinship systems that have been observed during the colonial era, are obtained by marriages between the tribes. The relationship to the Lumbee and Coharie is especially striking thanks to the surname used in the three strains: Jacobs found in all three strains, while Campbell, Freeman, Graham, Hammond, Blanks, Hunt, Locklear, Moore and Strickland especially in the Lumbee and the Waccamaw Sioux frequently.